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Thread: Family Dynamics

  1. #1
    Senior Member awbro's Avatar
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    Default Family Dynamics

    So this might turn into more of a type-me thread than I would like. But I will give information where applicable.

    I'm not sure what type I am, so I'll give some background on how I think to show why it's important in the context of familial relations. I'm pretty sure I'm an introverted sensor, and as a result I can be quite stubborn. But my parents are also quite stubborn -- in their own ways -- and we tend to fight a lot.

    So when my mom is telling me, "We have to go to the store," I instantly think, "Why?" and ask as much. She responds, "We need milk." And I say, "Why? We just bought a gallon last week." And she responds, "We need to buy some because your sister's coming into town and she uses a lot of it when she's here." So I respond, "Why can't she just buy some? She can't expect you to buy her all the milk when she uses up every last drop." And she responds, "Because that's what mothers do." So I say, "But why?"

    And she gets frustrated, to the point of just shutting down and telling me, "End of conversation" and brooding quietly.

    I naturally need to know why she's feeling sad and what I can do to fix the situation, so I want to poke her. But I also know if I poke her she'll get even more mad.

    My dad tries to be the mediator of these conflicts and explain the why, but I still need the why to match either a universal or internal sense of logic. It never does, and I just end up frustrated. My parents call me negative, a perfectionist, and too critical. I can't stop it, though. I just want things to make sense.

    My dad once took the MBTI test, but I don't remember his results. An extrovert of some type. I'm guessing sensor. My mom and sister got INTJ and I have reason to believe they have some type of Ni because they both rely on intuition to some extent (my mom often guessing things correctly about other people, and my sister identifying as an empath). However if they're INTJs, they're surely not the typical ones.

    I don't care so much about my sister and her interactions with my mom. I'm most concerned about why my mom and I don't get along, because it's really starting to affect my life.

    Any help is appreciated and I can provide additional information if necessary.
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  2. #2
    Softserve Ice Cream Agent Washington's Avatar
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    ...Very rare to see INTJ that identifies as Empath, given they're thinking sorts. Not that I'm questioning their typing. Merely remarking on rarity. I assume you know them better.

    Either way, I suppose... Not getting along doesn't have to be a type thing. I suppose she's feeling sad because she's got these ... uh, hm. Preconceptions about roles. It is difficult to get along with people sometime. And that argument strikes me as if she's either not using Te (What you said appeals to common sense, IMO, but sometimes people don't react well to common sense for whatever reason, usually sentimental) or something, which is plain odd to me. Maybe she just wants to feel like a parent or something. Lots of parents somehow forget that their children are adults who can do things for themselves.

    Uh. I guess I'm no help here. Just letting you know that you're not alone in having screwed up family dynamics.
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    Quote Originally Posted by awbro View Post
    So this might turn into more of a type-me thread than I would like. But I will give information where applicable.

    I'm not sure what type I am, so I'll give some background on how I think to show why it's important in the context of familial relations. I'm pretty sure I'm an introverted sensor, and as a result I can be quite stubborn. But my parents are also quite stubborn -- in their own ways -- and we tend to fight a lot.

    So when my mom is telling me, "We have to go to the store," I instantly think, "Why?" and ask as much. She responds, "We need milk." And I say, "Why? We just bought a gallon last week." And she responds, "We need to buy some because your sister's coming into town and she uses a lot of it when she's here." So I respond, "Why can't she just buy some? She can't expect you to buy her all the milk when she uses up every last drop." And she responds, "Because that's what mothers do." So I say, "But why?"

    And she gets frustrated, to the point of just shutting down and telling me, "End of conversation" and brooding quietly.
    Well, she shut down on "Because that's what mothers do" and the rest is just filler.

    She could be withdrawing from the conversation for various reasons, honestly. She might agree with you but feel she can't change because of her own expectations or your sister's. She might just feel like you both argue about everything, where she didn’t even plan to have an argument when she said “we” had to go to the store. She might not know what to say because she has no good answer to your question. She might feel that a mother and host should be providing food for visitors regardless, it's a sign of politeness and concern, and she doesn’t grasp why you don’t agree with that. She also might feel like she is doing all the prep work for this visit without help and this argument is just adding more frustration.. Or other reasons.

    I mean, I don’t know your relationship with her and how/if she is manipulating you in this scenario, so that would change your response if that is the case. But maybe if you preface stuff with a guess about the good reasons your mom might want to do this – “Mom, I know you just want both of us to have what we need, you want to provide for us to show us you love us. But getting ready for her visit is a lot of work, and this is something that my sister could do on her way in since she’s the one who will be drinking a lot of the milk and you could focus on other things. She wouldn’t mind doing it.” – I mean, you’d have to tailor that, but basically acknowledge positive reasons why your mom might be doing this, then your suggestion would reinforce her understanding that you know she loves you both and that you’re trying to help her not burn out, versus arguing.

    I naturally need to know why she's feeling sad and what I can do to fix the situation, so I want to poke her. But I also know if I poke her she'll get even more mad.
    Yeah, it can all simply be how you set up the comment honestly. So that it is not a poke -- you arguing with her plan of action -- but instead of you working with her... you care about her, she's overworked / trying too hard, and you can acknowledge that up front and then in effect be saying, "It's okay, she'll understand you love her even if you need her to bring some milk to the house herself. After all, she is also the one using most of it."

    My dad tries to be the mediator of these conflicts and explain the why, but I still need the why to match either a universal or internal sense of logic. It never does, and I just end up frustrated. My parents call me negative, a perfectionist, and too critical. I can't stop it, though. I just want things to make sense.
    I think you understand the milk situation and who should be responsible for what... but the comment above doesn't address the emotional reality / priorities driving your mom in this situation. If you address those, she might be more open to your alternate solutions.

    Your mom doesn't sound very INTJ in her response, she sounds like more of an SFJ type. I wouldn't know, but definitely more F and it's typical Si-Fe focus.
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    Senior Member awbro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ogata View Post
    ...Very rare to see INTJ that identifies as Empath, given they're thinking sorts. Not that I'm questioning their typing. Merely remarking on rarity. I assume you know them better.

    Either way, I suppose... Not getting along doesn't have to be a type thing.
    I don't know what my sister is, honestly. She's consistently gotten Ni in her results, though.

    Do I need a "not type related" badge on my post? Feel free to slam it on there, I don't mind

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    Iron Maiden Fidelia's Avatar
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    If it were me as your mom, I'd feel like 1) as a mother and a host, it's something I want to provide 2) you're neither paying for it or being that inconvenienced, so why is a bit of milk for your sister such a big deal 3) a couple of why's is fine. Several seems like just enjoying an argument for the sake of it, which feels self indulgent and pointless to engage in 4) I hate being inconvenienced by being out of stuff that I use, so even if your sister could pick milk up, by doing it myself I have some control over circumstances for myself.

    I have no idea if your mom would feel remotely any of those things. However, I guess I wonder, is there an underlying reason other than understanding the WHY that's driving you that hard?
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    It sounds like being interrogated over a simple thing that your mom wants to do. As a Ni user, I would do the same thing as your mom because it would make me feel prepared and comfortable for my guest. That type of questioning would just feel like judgement and criticism for how I would want to go about things... like there is something inherently wrong with how I operate.
    Last edited by Consilience; 07-04-2019 at 10:23 AM.
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  7. #7
    Senior Member awbro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fidelia View Post
    I have no idea if your mom would feel remotely any of those things. However, I guess I wonder, is there an underlying reason other than understanding the WHY that's driving you that hard?
    My sister is a lot older, so I don't know her well. And I guess growing up mostly as an only child makes me needy, despite my age. I guess I'm afraid of the unknown. But I honestly don't know and I don't know how much more I want to go into it publicly. There is always a driving "why" to my being, like an annoying little gremlin that wants to be answered and I can ignore it, but a lot of the time I choose to indulge it because it annoys me that I can't answer it. Something like that.

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    Iron Maiden Fidelia's Avatar
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    I've been mostly an only child too, with siblings sic and eleven years older. I'm not sure that that totally explains it.

    Do you feel like there's care or consideration available for your sister that you don't feel is available for you? In other social situations, would you usually ask someone five or six why's in a row? If so, how do people generally respond to that? If not, what makes inter family exchanges different in that way?

    I'm not suggesting that I know those answers, but am just bringing up possibilities to pose to yourself, because I think it's got more to do with your perspective than with your mom's response.

    If your mom is feeling sad, it may be more efficient to ask her directly about it instead of poking her in a more roundabout way, which could be misinterpreted.
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  9. #9
    Senior Member awbro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fidelia View Post
    Do you feel like there's care or consideration available for your sister that you don't feel is available for you? In other social situations, would you usually ask someone five or six why's in a row? If so, how do people generally respond to that? If not, what makes inter family exchanges different in that way?
    You're probably not looking for an answer, but yes, I do feel the need to question the boss or a co-worker sometimes. I don't because I don't want to get fired. At times I have expressed displeasure with one boss, saying, "Why do we need to do this?" and sometimes I just feel so strongly opposed he can read it on my face, I think.

    It annoys me that I can't solve my own questions, because then I wouldn't have to pester people. This perpetual cycle can give me a headache at times, but it's automatic to ask that question.

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    Iron Maiden Fidelia's Avatar
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    I think explaining why it helps you to understand is helpful in making people less dismissive or defensive. However, either at work or at home, sometimes you need to get those answers with some less overt detective work rather than beating a dead horse or consistently prioritizing your own need to know over their needs.

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